Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem welcomes European colleagues to Amsterdam’s Maritime Museum on Friday for meetings and an opportunity to showcase the country’s Golden Age. Dijsselbloem -- who must corral member states into following fiscal rules as part of his role as Eurogroup chairman -- also has some good news on the Dutch economy to share.
Here’s data from this week that give Dijsselbloem something to talk about at the dinner table Friday night:
The unemployment rate has continued to decline this year and was 6.4 percent in March, the lowest point since his earliest months in office.
And after a stock market rout hit the global economy at the beginning of 2016, Dutch consumers got some of their confidence back in March:
With unemployment down and confidence up, that’s being felt in the property market. House prices rose the most in eight years in March, with Amsterdam at pre-crisis levels for the first time since 2008.
Still, Dijsselbloem isn’t celebrating yet. With the country still wrestling with a projected shortfall in gas revenue this year, he promised that the 2017 budget wouldn’t be cause for celebration or contain any “presents” for the electorate.
And there are signs that the recovery hasn’t yet hit home where it matters ahead of next year’s planned elections: with voters. The outcome of this month’s referendum -- nominally on an association agreement between the EU and Ukraine -- also showed that Dutch voters are not satisfied with the government, said Andre Krouwel, an associate professor at Amsterdam’s VU University. “Economic recovery is slow and for many, the crisis continues. For them, there is no real growth."